In the Georgetown University Battleground Poll, voters said “political division” in America was at a 73 on a scale from 0 to 100 — and they do not see it improving a year from now.
Voters are concerned enough about political polarization that they ranked the issue No. 1 out of 11 choices offered to them by pollsters, with 32% saying “division in the country” was their most urgent matter.
Coming in second and third on that list, individually, were “government spending” at 25% and “voting rights” at 24%.
“Voters are troubled by the division in the country and given a choice,” said Republican pollster Ed Goeas, in a statement. Goeas conducted the Battleground Poll June 5–10 with Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. They surveyed 1,000 registered voters. The margin of error was 3.1 percentage points.
“Both parties should be aware they’re getting negative ratings,” Lake said during a news conference discussing the poll.
In the 2020 campaign, Biden ran on a note of restoring national unity and political civility, alleging Trump was intentionally setting people against each other. Nearly six months after entering the White House, the president’s job approval rating in the Battleground Poll is a healthy 53%. But the data implies Biden has dropped short on one of his signature campaign commitments.
The survey found that 39% of voters believe Biden has not worked hard “at all” to “restore unity and civility to our national politics.” Another 22% say the president has only paid attention to healing political divisions “somewhat.” Meanwhile, 22% say Biden has worked very carefully at unity and civility, and another 16% recognize him for working very hard.
Goeas and Lake both agreed that the findings in the Battleground Poll unveiled voter support for Democrats and Republicans who agree to address priority issues. They asked voters whether they favored politicians who “consistently fight for my values even if it means not finding a solution very often,” or those “willing to work together to get things done even if it means compromising on my values sometimes.” Just 27% picked the former, with 69% picking the letter.
Goeas said Republicans have chances in the 2022 midterm elections, noting that critical independent voters are “showing a real, wait-and-see attitude with President Biden. But the GOP also faces some challenges," he explained. “Republicans have to get back to being for something,” Goeas said.
Lake called the hurdles for Democrats and Republicans this way: “The biggest problem in politics is politicians refusing to work together to get things done,” she said.